Newly launched airline Akasa Air will offer pet friendly services in its airline. Passengers can now travel with pets in cabin and cargo compartments, according to the airline’s co-founder and CMO Belson Coutinho. Coutinho further said that domesticated dogs and cats will be allowed to travel on Akasa flights and bookings shall begin from October 15. The airline will be allowing pets inside cabin and cargo compartments from November this year.
Indian airlines’ policy vis-a-vis pets inside flights
Akasa is not the only airline to allow domestic pets on its flights. Tata’s Air India also allows domestic cats, dogs and birds in cabin and cargo compartments of domestic flights with proper health and rabies vaccination certificates. As per Air India’s norms, the pet should be carried in soft ventilated bags/kennel in the prescribed size. Kennels should not be more than 18”x18”x12” and the pet’s weight including the container should not exceed 5 kg for carrying inside the cabin.
Pets having a larger size or weight will be carried in the cargo hold. Dogs and cats should be at least 8 weeks of age to travel and pregnant pets are not allowed inside Air India flights.
Jet Airways only accepts birds and rabbits on domestic flights. Passengers will have to book their pets around 24 hours in advance as accompanied baggage within India. The airline allows carrying live animals inside cargo and not in the cabin. The airline further states that it accepts only three pet containers on the B737 aircraft and five containers on A330/B777 aircraft which is also subject to space availability.
The Jet Airways website read, “One guest can carry a maximum of three pet containers on domestic flights in the aircraft held subject to space availability.” Airlines can refuse to carry pets if they are unclean or the pet is too savage.
Akasa Air operations and future plans
Moreover, Akasa Air CEO and aviation veteran Vinay Dube said the airline’s performance in the 60 days since its operations began has been “satisfying”. Dube said, “We are very happy; satisfied with … our performance.”
Dube furthermore mentioned that the airline is “well capitalised and is not looking for new investors.
He added the airline, founded by the late market maven Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, is “on track” as per plans. Akasa Air will begin its flights from Delhi on Friday besides its already existing network of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi. The airline, which currently has 30 flights, has also placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes.
Akasa Air currently has a fleet of six planes and is expected to hit 18 by March 2023. The airline said earlier this year, “Akasa Air’s fleet size will be 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023 and over the next four years, the airline will add 54 additional aircraft, taking its total fleet size to 72 aircraft.”
Akasa’s first flight
The first flight of Akasa Air took off from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on August 7 in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The airline also launched flights between Bengaluru and Kochi and Bengaluru and Mumbai from August 23, and Chennai and Mumbai from September 15. It is also focusing on going international by 2023.
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